How to conduct an SEO site audit: a checklist for website promotion

Any changes to the site or work to promote it is more logical to start with an site SEO analysis. Knowing all the problems and shortcomings of the resource, it will be easier to outline a plan for its development. 

A full- fledged SEO site audit can provide answers to questions: what are the reasons for low positions in search engines and why users do not want to stay on the site. What stages and directions the site analysis consists of and how else it can help – in our article.

SEO audit (analysis) of a site is a comprehensive study. This includes technical analysis, site structure assessment, content analysis, usability, statistical data, external and internal links, and other indicators. As a result of the check, the site is considered from various positions: in terms of convenience for the user (buyer), for the administrator, and also from the point of view of search engines.

An SEO audit will help you build a promotion strategy, following which you can bring your site to the top 10 of Google search results.

Read Also: How to create SEO optimized Online store: search engines love

Why conduct an SEO site analysis?

  • Identify technical flaws (duplicate pages, server errors, broken links, layout errors, etc.).
  • Check site indexing: whether all pages are indexed and shown in search results.
  • Understand the reasons for low conversions.
  • Evaluate the usability of the site and consider changes for the convenience of users.
  • Analyze user behavior and understand how to increase the time spent on the site and the number of pages viewed.
  • Find the factors that make it impossible to rank high in search engines.
  • Determine what prevents the site from bringing sales and recoupment of investments in it.
For “prevention”, a comprehensive analysis is best done once or twice a year. And, of course, you need to constantly monitor Google Analytics indicators, as well as monitor the dynamics of visibility and position of the site in search engines.

We recommend that you perform a basic check according to the checklist every month, and it is advisable to check some parameters daily.

What to check:

  1. The dynamics of non-branded search traffic (non-branded traffic in Google through the Google Search Console, and in Yandex can be checked through Yandex Metrica).
  2. The dynamics of the position and visibility of the site in search engines (it is advisable to check the positions for the entire semantic core once a week, and for priority queries daily).
  3. It is also advisable to check webmaster panels in Google and Yandex daily for new errors. And also in Google Search Console, we recommend checking which pages are included in the index or excluded. 

What can you do yourself?

It can be difficult to objectively evaluate the structure, navigation and design of a site if you use it yourself every day. 

There is also the possibility of not noticing obvious flaws that need to be fixed. Below we have given a list of those steps that you can do yourself before starting to analyze the site:

  1. Collect any available statistics, reviews (and even better – complaints) of visitors. If there is an opportunity and time, then you can conduct surveys among those users who have already interacted with the site.
  2. Determine the goals and objectives that the site should solve.
  3. View page content. Is the contact information up-to-date, are there examples of work or customer reviews, how often is new content added, are there client feedback forms or chat.
  4. Check website loading speed. You can do this using the following online services:

The ideal site loading speed is 1 second, the optimal one is 2-3 seconds.

SEO site audit

Areas of site analysis

When the goals and objectives are defined, and the preparatory stage is completed, the analysis of the site begins in several directions.

Technical check

The foundation of any website analysis. The presence of technical errors can lead to a deterioration in the ranking of the site, an outflow of users, or even getting into search engine filters.

What problems can negatively affect the ranking of the site: 

  • The presence of technical duplicates of pages and broken links
  • Too long URL
  • Server errors
  • Slow page loading
  • Malicious codes and viruses
  • Errors in layout
  • Unoptimized Images
  • The presence of circular links and unnecessary redirects
  • Blank or uninformative pages
  • Errors in robots.xt and sitemap.xml
  • No adaptive layout
SEO site audit - Errors in layout

SEO analysis

Identifies the reasons why the site is not displayed in the top positions of search engines. For this, search engine indicators are analyzed (XI - Site Quality Index in Yandex and PageRank in Google). 

The more links to the site, the higher its position in the issue will be. SEO analysis also includes checking positions in Google for search queries, analyzing content and keywords on pages, checking for the presence of meta tags, H1-H6 level headings.

How disadvantages can negatively affect the ranking of a site: 

Usability analysis

Helps to evaluate how user-friendly a site is. The page structure, font size, ease of registration, site navigation, buttons, feedback or order forms, correct display on various devices, and other parameters are checked. 

Also, attention is paid to design: how modern and attractive it looks.

What disadvantages can negatively affect the ranking: 

  • Unclear site navigation
  • Incorrect display of the site in different browsers or on different devices
  • Invisible CTA Buttons
  • Uncomfortable font
  • Lack of uniform design elements
  • Using too bright fonts and images
  • Pile of elements
  • Too much irrelevant content
  • Useless texts

Marketing analysis. The absence of technical errors, a well-developed semantic core and convenient navigation do not always mean a rapid increase in sales on the site. 

To make it commercially attractive, it is necessary to provide users with useful information, create “selling” content, inform about current discounts and promotions, return options, availability of guarantees, etc.

What disadvantages they can find: no legal information (as well as licenses, certificates), lack of customer support contacts, discounts, promotions and offers are invisible to users, there are no links to the company’s social networks.

Stages of SEO analysis

For different specialists, the site analysis scheme may vary, but in general it looks like this:

Stage 1

A brief introduction to the scope of the company, its specifics, customers. Identification of the goals and objectives of the site.

Stage 2

Search audit: traffic analysis, analysis of topics and demand, analysis of site visibility in search engines, rating of topics and analysis of competitors’ visibility.

In the course of this analysis, you can build a strategy on which goods or services to focus on in accordance with the seasonality of demand. Also, as a result of this analysis, you can determine which sites receive the most traffic and who is the topic leader and occupies positions in the top 10 leader ratings. 

Stage 3

SEO audit: collecting the semantic core, clustering search queries, selecting relevant pages and distributing groups of queries across pages, analyzing the commerciality of queries, checking site positions for all search queries. 

Based on the analysis of semantics, it is possible to identify for which queries the site ranks well and is in the top 10, for which queries the site has growth potential and for which queries the site is not ranked. 

As a result of such an analysis, hypotheses can be built on which pages need to be created, which ones should be improved, and which should be deleted.

Also, on the basis of the semantic core, it is necessary to build the structure of the site.

Stage 4

Technical audit: checking for duplicate pages, errors on the server, broken links, checking page indexing and other technical flaws. Drafting a robots.txt and sitemap.xml file.

In the course of technical analysis, critical problems can be identified that can negatively affect the ranking of the site. In some cases, correcting these problems can significantly improve the position of the site in a short time. 

Stage 5

Commercial audit: identifying factors hindering commercial promotion, sales growth, etc. Here you need to conduct a detailed audit of the content of the pages and compare the content with competitors. In the course of such an analysis, you can identify the functionality that is missing on the site, or find good references on how to refine the existing functionality.

Stage 6

Analysis of external reference mass and reviews, comparative analysis with competitors.
If the site has a lot of negative reviews, it is necessary to carry out work on posting new positive reviews, putting likes on positive reviews on review sites. As a result, it is necessary to ensure that the site has high ratings in the search results and there are no sites with negative reviews about the company.

External link mass should also keep up with competitors. If the number of external links is lower than that of competitors, we recommend developing a link strategy and increasing the number of external links. At the same time, we recommend placing links only on trusted resources that have high Page Rank, low spam and high IQ.

Stage 7

Providing recommendations in the form of a report

Based on the results of site analysis, it is necessary to generate a file with all identified problems and prepare detailed recommendations and TOR for correcting these problems. 

Conclusion

A full-fledged SEO analysis with all the identified errors will help lay the foundation for effective search engine promotion. The better the test is performed, the greater the chance of further success. Is it difficult to analyze the site yourself? 

Yes. And although there are many resources on the network that offer online programs for analyzing a site, it is still better to entrust a truly comprehensive and high-quality check to SEO specialists.

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